BOX ELDER COUNTY FAIR - By Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist, August 31, 2022
Being nearly-a-teenager is tough. Showing a steer at the Box Elder County Fair is tougher. But showing the last steer you received from a beloved grandfather just before you lose him to suicide is the toughest.
Ask 12-year-old Londyn Gamble.
Londyn spent months working with that steer, preparing him for the show ring and, ultimately, the Box Elder Junior Livestock Auction. According to her stepmother, Jennie, Londyn has approached this year’s event with a specific goal in mind.
“In May of 2020, she lost her mother (Chaylie Holmgren) to suicide,” Jennie said. “Then this summer she lost her grandpa (Chad Holmgren) to suicide, as well. She has endured a lot of heartache at such a young age dealing with suicide.”
Jennie said the loss of her grandfather brought back a lot of the feelings Londyn experienced just two years earlier, the trauma she constantly deals with. “This little lady has been directly affected by suicide from two of the closest people to her and it hurts deeply daily,” Jennie wrote in a Facebook post.
But Londyn showed her toughness - and her generous heart – at the auction when she told auctioneer, Rich Holmgren, her plan to help someone else avoid her hurt.
“She decided she wanted to do something to help another family or someone, so they wouldn’t have to feel the same pain she has been feeling,” Jennie said. So, when her parents, Justin and Jennie, suggested she might want to donate some of her earning to a suicide prevention program or a mental health group, she was all in. “She decided she wanted to donate half of the amount her steer sold for.”
It was Rich who prepared the crowd in the auction barn for what they were witnessing on Saturday, August 27. A relative of the family, he told the buyers the pain he shared with Londyn, the heartache of the situation and the good Londyn hoped to accomplish with her donation.
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“He then started the bidding at $10,000,” Jennie continued. “Everyone just started bidding. Londyn was very emotional. She cried the whole time.”
She was not the only one. There were few dry eyes in the stands or on the auction floor, according to Jennie. Many felt her sorrow and they raised their hands to keep the numbers climbing. In the end, Central Milling of Collinston was the winner with a $14,000 bid.
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But the real winners will be those who will benefit by Londyn’s gift. “We would like to keep it local,” Jennie said. “Her grandpa and her mom are from here so we would like to give it to a foundation here. Suicide is a big thing, and it's not talked about a lot, but it should be. It is okay to not be okay and Londyn wants everyone to know that.”
Maybe talking about suicide is tough and more of us need to be stronger about doing something about it.
Maybe we should take lessons from Londyn.
Read more about this year's Box Elder Jr. Livestock Auction and their record-breaking year on the link below.